Another government shutdown is brewing as House Republicans are ready to go back on a previous agreement to fund the government. If House Republicans continue to self-destruct, the result could erase the Republican House majority.
The National Journal reported that House Republicans are setting up another conflict:
Unexpected drama is emerging over a bill that Congress must pass to keep the federal government funded beyond the Oct. 1 start of its new fiscal year, and it could throw a wrench into what is intended to be only a brief return to Washington for lawmakers next month amid their reelection campaigns.
This fight isn’t about the necessity of doing such a continuing budget resolution to avoid another government shutdown, or even how much spending it should contain.
Rather, this battle is over how long such a temporary spending bill should last—and it is being fueled by uncertainty over whether Democrats will maintain control of the Senate after the Nov. 4 elections.
Some House Republicans—hopeful their party will take over the Senate majority—are now privately hedging on whether they should go along in September with passage of a continuing resolution that would expire in December, rather than some later date in 2015. If pushed into next year, the GOP then might control both chambers and Democrats would have less leverage in passing a new budget bill.
“This could lead into a real standoff,” said one senior House GOP leadership aide, adding that Democrats are unlikely to go along with extending the CR into next year, and a new Congress.
The House is only scheduled to be in session for ten days in September and two days in October. This means that John Boehner’s dysfunctional circus of delusional tea partiers will only have ten days to pass a continuing resolution that the Senate will agree to before the end of next month. If Republicans insist on passing something that will carry into 2015, there will be another government shutdown.
The reason why Democrats want a shorter funding extension is because it will give them another opportunity to fund the government into next year. If this occurs, even if Republicans win the Senate, their first chance to demand more spending cuts wouldn’t happen until Fall 2015. With the 2016 presidential election around the corner, Senate Republicans would have precious little time to get anything done.
It is important to remember that Speaker Boehner had been expressing confidence in the passage of a short-term CR for months. House Republican leadership has wanted to avoid a showdown so that their members can be back to running for reelection. A government shutdown would keep Republicans in Washington and off the campaign trail. A shutdown lasting as long as the one last year would virtually wipe out the last month of the 2014 campaign.
Republicans are putting themselves in a lose/lose position. If they agree to the short-term CR, Democrats will set the funding for the federal government well into 2015. If they decide to fight, a government shutdown could destroy their majority.
Politically, this is good news for Democrats. Boehner and his tea party House have painted themselves into a corner, but this time their insistence on conflict could cost them their jobs.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA.Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association